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Panax ginseng (Meyer)

 

Family: Araliaceae

Parts used: Dried root

Active Compounds:  steroidal glycosides known as panaxosides or ginsenosides which, on extraction or drying, may be hydrolysed and the aglycones converted to panaxadiols and panaxatriols. At least 25 ginsenosides have been identified: triterpene glycosides (hormone-like saponins). Also acetylenic compounds: panaxynol (falcarinol), panaxytriol (falcarintriol), panaxydol and others; peptidoglycans (panaxans A-E); sesquiterpenes, including b-elemene; amino acids, peptides, volatile oil, sugars, sterols, starch, pectin, choline, fats, vitamins B1, B2 and B12, and minerals (zinc, copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, vanadium). The wild root, but not the cultivated one, is said to contain oestrogenic principles.
--Medicinal Action and Uses--

physical or mental exhaustion, stress, inadequate resistance to infections, neurasthenia, neuralgia, insomnia, hypotonia. Specifically indicated in depressive states associated with sexual inadequacy.

Panax is an adaptagenic herb - it enhances the body's resistance to external stresses and improves physical and mental performance. It acts on the central nervous, cardiovascular and endocrine systems, promotes immune function and metabolism, and has biomodulation actions. The hormone-like substances in the plant account for its simultaneous sedative and stimulating (adaptogenic) effect on the central nervous system. Panax improves the responses of the adrenal cortex in secreting the stress hormones possibly by interacting with receptor sites at the cortex and at the hypothalamus, variously stimulating and relaxing the central nervous system, affecting hepatic metabolism and glycogen utilisation by skeletal muscle. . It has been found to have a beneficial effect on carbohydrate tolerance in diabetic patients. In general, Panax improves the balance of functions in the body. It is a valuable general plant drug for geriatric care. In China, it is also used during labour. As a demulcent, it is helpful for coughs, colds and various chest problems. Enhanced blood alcohol clearance has also been demonstrated.

 

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